Boris Johnson doesn’t deserve your loyalty

With the publishing of the Privileges Committee report today which concluded that Johnson deliberately misled parliament over lockdown breaches, the Conservative right and Johnson supporters are up in arms.

If Boris hadn’t resigned then he would most likely of been suspended from parliament for 90 days, triggering a by-election. The committee also recommended that his parliamentary pass be taken away, and concluded that he was ‘complicit’ in a ‘campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the committee’.

Quite frankly, the committee deserved to be abused, it was a farce and the only people who should be able to remove an elected politician from parliament are the voters who put them there in the first place. Outsourcing moral judgment, and whether an individual has lied or misled parliament is not the job of other politicians, the ruling class must not be allowed to give themselves more power to control and ultimately punish politicians elected by the voters.

Harriet Harman, the Chair of the Committee has never once won a national election, she is the MP for one of the safest Labour seats in the country and has been since 1982. Her career has been unremarkable, a wasted seat, but she was tasked with deciding whether Boris Johnson, a man who won 14 million votes in the 2019 election, should be thrown out of parliament. That is not democracy.

But it is not just this committee that has succeeded in driving out a man who won 14 million votes, almost the entirety of the British ruling class did too. Let us not forget that when Boris was forced out of Downing Street in July 2022, Britain witnessed a coup. The forces of The Court (you can watch a video about The Court here) conspired against Johnson to force him out. The political class, the permanent Whitehall class, and the media class all used ‘procedure’, bureaucratic ‘ethics’ codes, and events to relentlessly pursue an agenda which resulted in a coup. They forced out a man who had been democratically elected and replaced him with people who had never faced a national vote.

At least Liz Truss was voted for by Conservative members, no one has voted for Rishi Sunak. The Court won like they almost always do, their last great loss was the EU referendum, and they have never gotten over it.

The great lie in British politics is that politicians and political parties optimise themselves for winning elections, this is false. Politicians are actually pretty bad at winning elections, and their focus is not in five years’ time when they are up for re-election, or even if an election is a year away, their focus is almost always on what the journalists they are friends with and leak to are writing about them. Their focus is appearing on television and being interviewed, their focus is on what is directly in front of them. Their focus on the day-to-day political drama and gossip is amplified by a media class that is fundamentally incurious, more interested in who hates who and what politician can they get rid of.

This reason is why when pro-Boris people shout that he is an ‘election-winner’ politicians don’t care because they aren’t optimised to win elections, they are optimised to care about whether their party or their position gets a good cover story in the media.

Boris Johnson had this exact same problem. When he won in 2019, he almost immediately became complacent, he’d won his great victory, Brexit could be done, and the agenda that he had promised was left to flounder. Johnson was far more concerned with his perception in the media, and whether certain publications write nice things about him than he was about real politics. He wanted to be friends with everyone, he wanted everyone to like him, and he didn’t want to cause any trouble. These are not the traits of a good national politician, they are not the traits of a good leader.

He had very little incentive to change these traits (people basically never change anyway which is why it is important to elect the right people in the first place). So when he found himself increasingly under fire whether that was to do with coronavirus, Cummings, Paterson, the parties scandal, Pincher etc, he did not have the capacity or focus to deal with them. Most of them were self-inflicted problems because when a leader/manager is not focused and across the detail of the organisation he runs (in this case the government) he makes unwise decisions.

Only the Prime Minister has the power, authority, and influence to force change. Without his backing, focus and management, projects stall or just don’t happen, policies get watered down, failings are covered up and various interests compete with each other further dividing the state. The PM is not merely a lowly secretary of state, he is the head of the British government, and change comes from the top.

The forces that toppled him such as Sue Gray and her job of ensuring government ‘ethics’ could have been immediately ended as soon as he was PM, the PM is head of the civil service. Why would you employ and maintain a position for someone who is fundamentally a potential enemy? The goal of politics is to drive through YOUR agenda, not any agenda, not a bipartisan agenda, YOUR agenda. Johnson had an 80-seat majority to do that, he was the most secure and powerful PM since Tony Blair, he just didn’t have the drive to do it and so forces that he allowed to foster came together to end him. He only has himself to blame.

Boris deserved everything he got, the British people however are left once again without an outlet to express their disaffection with our decline. We are now left with a ruling class that attempts to ban dissent in parliament, don’t call that Kangaroo Court a Kangaroo Court! We are left with a state that is increasingly failing, complex systems won’t survive the competence crisis, we are left with a political class that is unrepresentative, and we are left with tired figures such as Farage and Boris talking about a comeback.

Boris doesn’t like Nigel for exactly the same reason he wasn’t up to the job of PM, Boris likes to be liked and he won’t get any praise from the FT if he teams up with Nigel. Politically they aren’t similar either. And Boris coming back as an MP won’t happen. He has to be approved as a candidate by CCHQ, and Sunak ultimately is in charge of the Conservative Party. So strategically, he has no way back into the party, and he won’t set up a new party because he doesn’t have the focus for that nor would he get competent people (like Cummings) to work with him again.

I completely sympathise with people who are still loyal to Johnson, he is a symbol of political change and hope against a corrupt entrenched system, but he is a symbol with no substance, a fake. Not a serious person. Under his watch immigration is now at record highs, he locked down the country for a bad flu and spent £400bn in the process, infrastructure was cancelled (HS2 to Leeds), wages continued to stagnate, crime rose, he pushed us into a proxy war (Russo-Ukraine), taxes rose, planning reforms didn’t come to fruition, more devolution was pushed, economic growth continued to lag, and he failed to change how the state operates and works.

Loyalty should not be given to a man who wasted it. He will only take advantage once again.

Only a PM can change the system, it’s time we elevated someone serious.

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